New urban growth plan touted as game changer that will fix NZ's 'dysfunctional' housing market

A developer says the Government’s proposals to overhaul planning laws is a game changer and will make a massive difference to housing supply – and prices.

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The plan will focus particularly on six high-growth centres. Source: 1 NEWS

Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says "cities are failing" and has released the proposed 'National Policy Statement on Urban Development'.

It directs councils – particularly in the six high-growth centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown – to free up their planning rules while focusing on high-quality streets, neighbourhoods and communities.

Sir Paul Adams says planning constraints over the last 30 years have driven up the price of bare land, developed land and housing, leading to "super profits" being made.

"That shouldn’t be the case," he told media this morning at the site of a new major development in Porirua.

"It took a long time to get the resource consent here - that cost us about a year. We should’ve been a year ahead and there’s been a lot of money wasted in planning."

For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Under the proposals, councils would be directed to look at going up and going out, creating highly intensive developments.

Mr Twyford admits some "NIMBYs" may struggle with the plans, and that’s why the Government wants to help direct councils.

"Sometimes it’s quite hard for local councils to stand up to some ratepayers who say they don’t want to see medium density or affordable housing in our neighbourhood….but we have to find a balance," Mr Twyford says.

"We can’t underestimate how dysfunctional New Zealand’s housing market is."

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Councils are to be told to protect “elite soils” at all costs. Source: 1 NEWS

The plan will work alongside changes to the Resource Management Act, and national policy statements on water and elite soils.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana says the plan is an "enabler", allowing councils to get on with developments and plan cities for the next 30 years.

"Councils need a direction and a foundation that enables us to put in place the plans we’ve got to meet our expectations and those of the Government, to ensure we get houses in a way that doesn’t affect the environment."

The plans now go out for consultation.